The Haramain High-Speed Rail project represents one of the most important transport projects in the expansion programme of the Saudi railway network.
The launching of a 450-km electric-rail track with an operational speed of 300 Km per hour, the Haramain High-speed Rail, HHR, aims to cater to passengers wishing to travel between the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah connecting them to the King Abdullah Economic City, Jeddah and the Jeddah Airport.
The trains are equipped with the latest signalling and communications system. It is primarily designed to provide a fast, comfortable, reliable and safe mode of transport, between the holy cities while utilising state-of-the-art technologies.
Construction on the project began in March 2009, and it was officially inaugurated on 25th September, 2018. The line was opened to the public on 11th October, 2018, with the first two trains, each carrying 417 passengers.
According to the Saudi Transport Minister and General Transport Authority Chairman, Nabil Al-Amoudi, the railway is expected to carry 60 million passengers a year, including around three to four million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, helping to relieve traffic congestion on the roads in a 120-minute journey between the two holy cities.
The first service for pilgrims was launched in Madinah on 1st August 2019 and carried 170 pilgrims of different nationalities.
The fastest railway service in the Middle East and North Africa, the HHR project is expected to transport 60 million passengers a year on 35 electric trains, with each train consisting of 13 passenger cars with a seating capacity of 417 per train.
There are five stops on the line at Makkah, Madinah, King Abdullah Economic City Station, King Abdulaziz International Airport and Jeddah.
According to the Saudi Railways Organisation the stations are "aesthetically iconic" buildings with designs which take into account Islamic architectural traditions. They will have shops, restaurants, mosques, car parking, a helipad and VIP lounges.
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